25th party planned


CHB Rugby and Sports Club will be turn­ing back the years over Queen's Birth­day week­end to cel­e­brate a ma­jor mile­stone.

When the Cen­tral pre­mier men's rugby team runs out against Taradale in their third round Mad­di­son Tro­phy clash at Cen­tral Park on Satur­day, June 2, they will be wear­ing the team's orig­i­nal har­lequin jer­seys to cel­e­brate the amal­ga­mated club's 25th an­niver­sary.

The com­mem­o­ra­tive jer­seys, the same as those worn by play­ers in the club's first game in 1994, will then be auc­tioned off af­ter the game as a fundraiser for the club in its 25th sea­son.

Be­fore the game, ex­play­ers, coaches, ad­min­is­tra­tors and mem­bers will gather at the clu­b­rooms for a meet and greet event on Fri­day night.

On Satur­day there will be a Spon­sors' Day, Club Day and 100 club all rolled into one start­ing with the ju­niors on Cen­tral Park from 9am, with spe­cial guests en­joy­ing a bar­be­cue while watch­ing the club's re­serve and pre­mier teams in ac­tion, fol­lowed by a night of cel­e­bra­tions in­clud­ing the jer­sey auc­tion.

While the amal­ga­ma­tion of the proud Waipawa United and Waipuku­rau High School Old Boys' rugby clubs might still ran­kle some die-hards to this day, club pres­i­dent Tony Mackie said it was im­por­tant to mark the mile­stone.

“It's quite dif­fi­cult as a new club to build his­tory – and we cer­tainly lost a lot of his­tory with the merger of the two clubs. But this is a good step to­wards build­ing up that his­tory and putting a marker in the ground for the next 25 years and on­wards,” he said.

He was look­ing for­ward to many of the club's char­ac­ters, past and present, re­con­nect­ing over the week­end to share some good sto­ries and to “tell a few lies” about their on and off-field ex­ploits.

“Re­sults are im­por­tant, but friend­ships are more im­por­tant. That's the rea­son why you play rugby and get in­volved with a club,” he said.

With both clubs strug­gling with player num­bers in the 1990s, Mackie said the de­ci­sion to amal­ga­mate was made to en­sure least one CHB club could con­tinue to field a pre­mier and re­serve grade team in Hawke's Bay's top club rugby com­pe­ti­tion.

“The other im­por­tant fac­tor was to stop play­ers from head­ing to Napier and Hast­ings in the be­lief they had to go there to play pre­mier rugby. And we've done that very well,” said Mackie, point­ing to play­ers like All Black, Brodie Re­tal­lick, though he con­ceded the merged en­tity had been pow­er­less to com­bat the prob­lem of dwin­dling player num­bers — an is­sue for the code na­tion­ally.

Ross An­gus, who first played se­niors for Waipawa

United in 1959 as school­boy, was on the orig­i­nal amal­ga­ma­tion com­mit­tee and be­came pa­tron of CHB Rugby and Sports in 2006 fol­low­ing the death of Jim McCormick.

An­gus said that, while there was ev­i­dence that not all quar­ters were fully be­hind the amal­ga­mated club, it had suc­ceeded in its most im­por­tant aim of main­tain­ing a CHB pres­ence in the Nash Cup and Mad­di­son Tro­phy com­pe­ti­tions, as well as pro­vid­ing a path­way for lo­cal play­ers to go on to higher hon­ours.

“We hoped that amal­ga­ma­tion would at­tract all the bet­ter play­ers [to Cen­tral] but each com­mu­nity has been a lit­tle bit parochial and main­tained their own teams, but in say­ing that, on our club hon­ours’ board there’s prob­a­bly more than 20 play­ers over the 25 years who have gone on to play for the [Hawke’s Bay] Mag­pies.”

David ‘Snow’ Petersen was the last chair­man of Waipuku­rau High School Old Boys. He said he and his Waipawa United coun­ter­part, Bernie Story, were ini­tially faced with stiff op­po­si­tion but even­tu­ally 75 per cent of mem­bers of both clubs voted for the amal­ga­ma­tion to go ahead.

“There was a lot of club pride and that meant that they were re­luc­tant to give up their iden­tity. But nei­ther club was in a po­si­tion to pro­vide a pre­mier team be­cause there weren’t enough play­ers, so that’s why we drove it. But it was still a big call,” he re­mem­bered.

Life mem­ber and im­me­di­ate past Cen­tral pres­i­dent Peter Flem­ing ex­plained the club’s orig­i­nal play­ing strip of the black, yel­low, green and red har­lequin jer­sey with white col­lar and blue shorts re­flected the dif­fer­ent colours of the dis­trict’s var­i­ous clubs: Waipuku­rau HSOB (black and white); Waipawa United (yel­low and black), Taka­pau (red and black), Po­ran­ga­hau (green and black) O¯ tane (green and black) and the de­funct Waipuku­rau club (blue and white).

Af­ter the har­lequin jer­seys, there were sev­eral vari­a­tions of the strip be­fore the club’s cur­rent colours of royal blue and red — rep­re­sent­ing the red of the CHB sub-union and the blue of the club’s feeder sec­ondary school, CHB Col­lege — were adopted in the mid-2000s.

The club has paid for 22 of the har­lequin jer­seys made for the cel­e­bra­tions, which are cur­rently be­ing auc­tioned on the club’s Face­book page.

The auc­tion will be sus­pended on Fri­day night and then re­sume at the af­ter-match cel­e­bra­tions at the clu­b­rooms on Satur­day. For de­tails and to RSVP for the Fri­day night meet and greet, run­ning from 7pm11pm, and the sup­porter’s bar­be­cue on Satur­day af­ter­noon, peo­ple must email chbrug­byand­sportsclub@gmail.com by May 28.


ORIG­I­NAL STRIP: Waipuku­rau High School Old Boys’s rugby club’s last ever pres­i­dent David “Snow” Petersen, CHB Rugby and Sports life mem­ber, Peter Flem­ing, club pres­i­dent Tony Mackie and club pa­tron Ross An­gus, with one of the com­mem­o­ra­tive har­lequin...

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